A Glimpse of Rural Cambodia

Getting to Kampot was quite the mission. First we had to get to Phonm Phen because the roads here are very limited. The bus from Siem Reap to Phonm Phen was local and loud with Cambodian pop music which is very unpleasant. On top of that the driver honks literally every 5 seconds to warn the motos on the side of the road. There is no chance to get shut eye on the 6 hour ride.
Once in Phonm Phen we had to figure out how to get to Kampot which is 148km south of the capital. We had already missed the last bus so the only option was to take a share ride (normally a car or a van cramped with more people than it can seat). Our tuk tuk driver felt more than inclined to assist us and found us a van where the only remaining seats were in the back (riding on top of vans is also acceptable) next to the cargo. Seeing that we were the only foreigners in this van with no one that spoke a lick of English, we definitely felt uncomfortable. The second van had better seats and smiling old Cambodian women and because it was getting late we got in. The ride took 5 hours through heaps of dust and lots of honking, stopping and picking up.

Although uncomfortable, it was a very unique experience through rural Cambodia. We passed through many villages, rice paddies, home made shacks, Cambodian wedding party, starving cows and naked children playing in puddles of dirt.

Once we arrived in Kampot things just didn’t go the way we had hoped. The guesthouse we had made reservations at were full and assumed not replying meant we’d understand. At 11pm we were still carrying our backpacks and looking for a place to shower and fill our stomachs. It was a long day, and the first day where I really felt the burden of being in Asia. This is as real as it is and I’m still loving it!


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